Home South African NPA to appeal high court’s acquittal of ANC MP Bongani Bongo

NPA to appeal high court’s acquittal of ANC MP Bongani Bongo

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After taking time to consider its options, the National Prosecuting Authority has announced that it would appeal the decision to acquit ANC MP Bongani Bongo.

Former State Security Minister Bongani Bongo appearing at the Cape Town High Court on corruption charges. File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

AFTER taking time to consider its options, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has announced that it will appeal the decision to acquit ANC MP Bongani Bongo.

Last month, Bongo had his corruption charges thrown out by the Western Cape High Court after he applied for the case to be dismissed.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe granted Bongo his section 174 application and found him not guilty on a charge of corruption on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Bongo was charged with attempting to bribe a now former parliamentary official, Ntuthuzelo Vanara, in a bid to collapse a 2017 parliamentary enquiry into state-owned enterprises and Eskom.

At the time, Vanara was evidence leader in the parliamentary investigation which was running parallel to another inquiry into the capture of SOEs, now known as the Zondo commission.

Bongo denied the charge and at the end of the prosecution’s case Bongo’s lawyer Mike Hellens SC brought a section 174 application to dismiss it.

Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act incorporates the right of an accused to be discharged from the offence he has allegedly committed where, at the close of the State’s case, there is insufficient evidence.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Nicolette Bell, decided to appeal the decision to acquit Bongo.

“The application for leave to appeal has been filed and served on Bongo’s legal representatives.

“A suitable date will be arranged for the application to be heard by the Judge President.

“The state will request the court to reserve questions of law for the consideration of the Supreme Court of Appeal, as it avers that the trial court misdirected itself on the law related to corruption, the test to be applied when assessing the evidence of witnesses, the drawing of adverse inferences, use of previous consistent statements and the acceptance of the untested version of an accused person,” Ntabazalila said.

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